January 31, 2009

Fee on Galatians

I recently obtained a review copy of Gordon Fee's new commentary on Galatians (Deo, 2007). If the introduction is any indication, it looks to be an interesting read. Fee writes that a major concern of the commentary is, "to help people read Galatians as if the Reformation had never happened" (1). Wow! Whatever he is going to say, it is bound to be not only interesting but controversial. He substantiates this major concern by further saying Luther and Calvin, "tended to read the letter as having primarily to do with justification by works or by faith. But that is decidedly not the matter that called forth this letter, which is stated most clearly in one of the opening sentences of the argument proper: 'Having begun by the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?' (1:3), where 'flesh' is a play on words, referring to literal circumcision of the flesh as the primary issue regarding their keeping the law" (1). Fee indicates that he sees the primary issue of Galatians being not how one comes into relationship with God (justification) but whether or not the justified must practice certain elements of the Jewish law in order to be completed in faith in Christ. Can't wait to read this one!

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